Here's a little brain teaser for you all! Yesterday, when I was writing about St. Catherine of Alexandria, I was trying to think of a modern equivalant, not of her martyrdom and sainthood, but of her life of knowledge and influence leading up to it. I used Mother Teresa as an example, but only because she was the only woman I could think of who wouldn't raise a single eyebrow and a pillar of wisdom (except for Christopher Hitchens' eyebrows).
I still can't think of anyone. Can you?
Meanwhile I caused even more confusion:
I didn't realize Catherine of Aragon is a saint. Who knew!? I'm kind of new at this saint stuff, so I have a lot to learn.
You didn't realize it, because she isn't a saint, officially, although she may well be a saint. I know that makes the whole mishmash even more confusing, since the cake named for her is called "St. Cattern's cake". I believe two things caused that.
First, Catherine of Aragon was a very nice lady, who didn't deserve what happened to her. As a result, she was admired the way a saint is admired, the same way someone might say, "My sainted mother", even though their mother has never been canonized.
If their mother is dead and in heaven, and if Catherine of Aragon is in Heaven, she is a saint. That's the whole criteria for sainthood: dead+in Heaven. Everyone who is in Heaven is a saint. By canonizing someone, the Church is declaring that the person is definitely in Heaven.
Second, it became a tradition to make St. Cattern's cake on the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
Perhaps the fact that the official portrait of St. Catherine of Aragon so closely resembles an artist's imagination of St. Catherine of Alexandria just makes everything all the more confusing.